CARY – In his last state of the community address, village President Tom Kierna on Wednesday talked about economic successes and plans to further economic development in the village.
During the Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce event, Kierna discussed how the village has restructured its administrative staff, outsourced some services and eliminated 2.5 positions, which allowed it to hire a director of community and economic development.
Community and Economic Development Director Christopher Stilling started working for the village this week. He will earn $100,000 a year, Kierna said.
“We’re happy to have Chris on board,” Kierna said. “He comes with a thick Rolodex, and we’re excited to have him.”
Kierna is not running for re-election, making it his last state of the community address.
The village is working to improve internal operations, Kierna said.
“We have a healthy financial situation in the village,” he said. “We continue to operate in a fiscal and frugal manner. I gotta give a lot of credit to our department heads who really manage the expense line items.”
Kierna discussed progress in economic development, including new businesses in the village in the past year or ones that plan to take up business there this year.
He highlighted the demolition of the former SMRT property on the east entrance of town by the Selcke family. The village helped pay for that.
“It will be ready for development and we’re excited about the development opportunities it could bring to the village of Cary,” Kierna said. “It looks better today than it did six months ago. It will look even better someday soon.”
The village also is working on a $1.5 million project to realign Jandus Cutoff and has received a state grant of $450,000 and a grant from the McHenry County Council of Mayors of $710,000. The village’s portion of the project is $340,000.
Kierna touched on the sale of Sage Products, which has remodeled and expanded its plant, added a wellness center and personnel, and still runs independently.
“As of right now, it’s all what can we do to help this great story continue,” Sage President and CEO Scott Brown said. “We love this community, we think we can grow to be bigger and better, and do more good things in the community as we go forward. We’re growing, we’re hiring, due to our expansion.”
Kierna discussed the new trash hauler contract with Advanced Disposal that expanded recycling, and led to savings of 25 percent to 30 percent ifor residents, and the electrical aggregation contract for the village, which reduced electricity rates 40 percent.
About 80 percent of residents are participating in the electrical aggregation program.
Jeff Hoffman, president of ACT Network Solutions, asked whether recycling opportunities through the village hauler can be expanded to businesses. He said he has to load his own truck and take recycling from his business to his house, which is in Cary.
“Why can’t I pay $10 to throw it in their truck as they drive by?” Hoffman said.
“It’s certainly a discussion we could have with the hauler,” Village Administrator Chris Clark said. “It’s certainly a dialogue we like to have with the business community. In some communities, business like to retain their ability to select based on their own needs for garbage and recycling.”
New water rate schedule
The Village Board on Tuesday approved a new water rate schedule to run through April 2018. It calls for a slight decrease and then annual 3 percent increases beginning in May. The rate increase will bring in an additional $1.5 million over the next five years.
The village plans $3.5 million to $4 million in capital improvements to the water and sewer system during the next five years.
“We’re needing to do infrastructure work that’s been delayed for a number of years,” Village Administrator Chris Clark said.
Cary has the fourth-lowest water and sewer rates in the area, Clark said.
– Joseph Bustos